When Martha Lowry and her husband, Ron, moved into their Buena Vista home a few years ago, Lowry had already completed much of the interior design work. Formerly her late mother’s residence, the classic home showcases many features that appealed to both ladies, so Lowry turned her designer’s eye to a few key spaces, including the front porch.
“Since Mother and I worked together to design the interior when she moved in, it was already to my taste,” says Lowry. “I did change the paint color in the living room, and outside, I have added more decorative features and enhanced the landscaping and lighting. I feel that lighting the exterior of a home is very important for safety and to set the right ambiance, as well.”
The circular drive in front of the home drops visitors in front of a double staircase flanked by four columns, leading to a central landing with double doors. Lowry switches out the décor seasonally but retains several key elements that have led some to refer to her property as “the house with the topiaries.”
“I wanted my front porch to be representative of my husband and I,” she says. “Most especially, I wanted the entry to be welcoming, colorful, and different. I purchased pieces that simply spoke to me of welcome, and I also have a series of lanterns that line the steps. They light everything up and give a warm glow to the front entry.
“The finials I have beside the front porch give it a magical, whimsical quality,” Lowry says. “They are colorful and are a foretaste of the colorful interior of the house. I have pairs for each season.”
Another distinctive decorative element of the front porch is the bronze butterfly doorbell, homage of sorts to the home’s previous resident that blends form and function.
“It reminds me of my mother who loved butterflies, a symbol of new life, and the resurrection,” Lowry says. “I think the doorbell is the most unique feature of the front porch and it also has a very pleasant bell.”
When asked about helpful hints for creating a memorable front porch setting, Lowry encourages her clients to begin with a few basic items and then personalize.
“Start with a good welcome mat, some color, and items that are meaningful to the homeowner,” she says. “If there’s enough room, perhaps add a bench, as well as a floral accent.”
Lowry adds that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for front porches and that as evidenced by her own home, the design options can be classical, quirky — or even a blend of both.
“I like color and I want my front entry to reflect that, but mostly, I want it to be a welcoming area to all who come to the house,” she says. “I love to entertain and have people enjoy our home, and I want it to be a place of welcome, laughter, and love.”